Australia topple India in test cricket rankings

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Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final – India v New Zealand – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – July 10, 2019 India’s Virat Kohli reacts after losing his wicket Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/Files

Australia moved to the top of the official test rankings on Friday but coach Justin Langer said the toppled India team still remained the benchmark for them.

Australia’s rise ended India‘s stay at the top since October 2016 in the latest update, based on results over the past three years, which removes Virat Kohli and his men’s impressive 12-1 win-loss record in the 2016-17 period.

Professional cricket remains suspended because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has also clouded the outlook for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

“I said in my first conference as coach we will know we are a great team if we can beat India in India and that is certainly a great goal for us,” Langer said in a Cricket Australia news release.

“We know they are so tough to beat so only then will we really know we can claim the number one spot.

“The last time we played India here they beat us for the first time in Australia so we will be determined to beat them when they come back.”

India, who registered their maiden test series victory in Australia last year, are scheduled to tour Down Under later this year.

Whitewashed 2-0 in their last test series in New Zealand this year, India slipped to third position, behind the Blackcaps, with only two points separating the top three teams.

Australia retained the Ashes in England last year and were unbeaten in five home tests against Pakistan and New Zealand.

Australia replaced another South Asian team, Pakistan, to top the Twenty20 rankings as well, boosting their confidence ahead of their home World Cup.

Pressure will be on the hosts to win the tournament in October-November, should it go ahead despite the global health crisis, and Langer had no illusions how tough the job was.

“I know how hard it is to win World Cup … everything has to go right, you can’t have an off day,” he said.

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